How to Talk to a 5-Year-Old

How you talk to a 5-year-old can have a major effect on her development, both cognitively and emotionally. As the website KidsHealth points out, kids at this age learn language competency in large part by speaking with adults. You are also charged with teaching conversation skills each time you chat with your child. But all this responsibility does not take away from the fact that talking to a 5-year-old can and should be a lot of fun.

Watch your words. A 5-year-old's vocabulary is growing to an impressive 1,000 to 2,000 words, according to KidsHealth 1. Still, it's important to remember you are conversing with a child. If you do happen to use a "big word" and your tot asks what it means, this is an opportunity to introduce new vocabulary. In fact, why not challenge your child with new words in daily conversation? After all, your child will learn a lot about language from you, according to KidsHealth.

Let kids pick the topics. You will probably find that a 5-year-old has a one-track mind when it comes to conversation. For instance, if your kiddo is in the mood to talk about how an airplane works, good luck steering the conversation elsewhere. But why bother trying to change the subject? By chatting with your child about topics of interest to him, according to, you are saying, "You are important 3. Your ideas and thoughts are important."

Answer questions. Any parent of a 5-year-old knows that each day is peppered with what feels like hundreds of questions. "Why do dogs sniff?" and "How does a wheel make the car go?" and "Where does the moon go when the sun is out?" Indeed, talking to a 5-year-old might feel like a constant quiz show. By answering your child's inquiries, you are helping to make him feel important. Also, you are helping him learn. Just don't forget to ask your kiddo, "Well, what do you think?"

Encourage imagination. Talking with a 5-year-old involves seeing into their world, which is ripe with imagination. If your kindergartener tells you she's a mommy of her three dolls, naming each one and asking you to babysit, go along with it. You wouldn't want to say, "You aren't a real mom." Instead, ask her how she chose the names for her babies and what she likes most about being a mom. As KidsHealth notes, by helping your honey to draw upon her imagination, you are fostering important life skills such as critical thinking.

Keep it real. There is a time and a place for imagination. But when it comes to talking to a 5-year-old about a serious matter, such as a family illness, do not feel you have to sugar coat it. In fact, KidsHealth notes that even young children should get the straight story. So be honest when you talk to your little one. You may need to skip over a few details but overall, your kiddo will learn to trust you when you tell him the truth.